Is There A Risk Using Automated Tools To Perform A Search?

Kerri NeugebauerBlogLeave a Comment

Recently, a client approached our SMI Aware team with a dilemma. The automated tool they purchased for a social media search matched the information with the wrong person. In addition to the misinformation, the volume of data that needed to be sifted through was overwhelming and crushed valuable man hours. SMI Aware obtained the scope of work and was quickly and accurately able to identify the correct individual and provided in an easy to read report. Why did our client have issues using an automated search tool?

When it comes to social media intelligence and analysis, automated (or scraping) tools are widely used to obtain evidence. At SMI Aware, the value of our in-house analysts proves that evidence gathered in a compliant, ethical manner will be more beneficial to your case and will uphold better in a court of law.

The inherent risks of utilizing automated tools are vast, starting with the loss of the human element when selecting what would be considered admissible and important evidence for a case. An automated search tool is not able to correctly identify everything you may need for your case, either leaving important information out of the report, or providing too much information. In that sense, having an overabundance of information can cause you to waste valuable time sifting through it to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The reliability of automated tools is also impacted by social media platform changes. As the API (Application Programming Interface) of a social media network changes, many automated tools are not able to evolve. For example, in an attempt to protect user privacy, automated access to Instagram’s API was removed. This means that automated tools will not be able to pick up and download social media evidence.

In addition to the overabundance of data and ever-changing social media platforms, utilizing automated social media intelligence tools in your case can run the risk of false positives. The swirl of fake news has found its way into mainstream media and discerning which is applicable, as well as avoiding incorrect or uncorroborated evidence, is vital to your case. In short, no technology today can scan an unstructured database as effectively and efficiently as an analyst is able to.

At SMI Aware, we use a proprietary tool for accurately transforming data into insight. Combined with in-house analysts, we bring the human element to web and social media intelligence investigation that cannot be replicated with an automated tool. The reports containing evidence gathered through proper social media analysis are not only succinct, they provide evidence that can be used and upheld in court. The SMI Aware process nearly eliminates the dangers of false positives and other risks associated with utilizing automated tools, providing information collected in a manner to ensure that data is usable, compliant, and ethically sourced.


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